Eugene, Oregon -- Erica Bartolina, who competed at Texas A&M and set school records in the pole vault as Boren, finished third in the Olympic Trials vault competition with a clearance of 14-11 (4.55) to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Beijing, China in August.
Clearing the bar on her third attempt at the height secured the bronze medal for Bartolina, who also needed three attempts at 14-7.25 (4.45). The three finishers behind Bartolina each cleared 14-9 (4.50), a height Bartolina had passed.
Bartolina, who had a personal best of 14-5.25 (4.40) from 2004, finished with three attempts at 15-1 (4.60). Her best this season prior to the Olympic Trials was 14-3.25 (4.35) from the Harry Jerome meet in Burnaby, Canada, on June 21. Bartolina lettered four years at Texas A&M from 1999-2002.
Jennifer Stuczynski improved her American record to 16-1.75 (4.92) for the gold medal while April Steiner Bennett claimed silver with a mark of 15-1 (4.60).
It’s Bartolina’s first Olympic team and she is the first Aggie female to qualify for an Olympic team in track and field since Linda Waltman qualified in the pentathlon for the 1980 Games that were eventually boycotted by the United States. Stacy Sokora, an A&M track and field athlete, was a member of the U.S. volleyball team for the Olympics held in 2000 and 2004.
The most recent Texas A&M athlete to be part of the United States track and field team came in 2000 when Floyd Heard qualified in the 200 meters and Danny McCray was an alternate on the 4 x 400 relay. In 2004 Chris Pinnock was a member of the Jamaican Olympic team in the 110 hurdles.
Aries Merritt, another Texas A&M volunteer assistant coach, competed in the finals of the 110 hurdles on Sunday and finished fourth. His time of 13.27 was just clipped by the 13.25 run by David Payne in third place. David Oliver won the race in a windy 12.95.
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